Why Villar's Vista Land is betting on Camella for growth

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 11 2014 04:55 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2014 06:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines -Vista Land & Lifescapes, the property company of the Villar family, expects its Camella housing brand to continue driving its growth in the next few years.

Vista Land chief executive officer Manuel Paolo Villar said the company will further expand in the affordable and low-cost housing segments being catered by its Camella brand, as well as newly-launched Lumina brand, this year.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Villar said they will be launching P28 billion worth of new projects this year, but declined to say how many projects this will involve. Vista Land launched 35 projects with an estimated total value of P26.1 billion last year.

"We are looking to do at least P28 billion in value... It depends (how many units), our average unit would be at least P1.5 million to P2 million... We are planning to continue our launches outside Metro Manila. That continues to be our strategy at least in the next few years," he said.

At least two-thirds of the new projects in 2014 will be under the Camella and Lumina brands, which offer housing units below P4 million.

"The Camella and Lumina brands will be the growth driver (for Vista Land) at least in the next few years," he added.

Vista Land is expected to become more aggressive in the lower-end of the market, with the introduction of the Lumina brand.

"We already in the low-cost segment but we are planning to expand our presence there in a big way with the Lumina brand. It's a low-cost, housing brand that will sell everything from socialized to low-cost which would be around P1.5 million," Villar said.

"We think this is a good opportunity now that capital markets are more mature and there is a lot more familiarity with home loans and formal financing... Also, it fits our marketing network as well. It's a natural extension. We've done very good business in the affordable segment, meaning above P1.5 million. And we're having good financial results selling a lot of products in that segment. We saw now there are more opportunities to expand," he added.

Looking for JV partners

For 2014, Vista Land is allocating at least P21 billion in capital expenditures, higher than the P17.2 billion capital expenditures it spent last year.

Villar also emphasized the company is on the lookout for more joint venture agreements with land owners this year.

"We're looking to expand the use of joint ventures. We're very open to having partners in joint ventures with big land owners... We expect to see the share in joint ventures for our land bank to increase this year and the following years," he said.

As of end 2013, Vista Land had 1,888.2 hectares in its land bank. Only 17% of its total land bank are under a joint venture deal.

"We are growing very fast and we find that we will need more land...We can expand our land bank without using more capital," Villar said.

Meanwhile, Villar sees more profit growth for Vista Land this year, although he declined to give details. Last year, Vista Land posted a record net income of P5.1 billion in 2013, as revenues from real estate sales surged.

Real estate revenues jumped 23% to a record P20 billion in 2013 versus P16.33 billion in the previous year.

Villar said the company is also ramping up its commercial centers near its existing residential developments to build its recurring revenue base.

"Evia in the DaangHari area, and Lakefront in the Sucat area, are both doing quite well. We are eagerly looking to expand our commercial development further. We will be adding to Evia this year," he said.

Manuel B. Villar, Vista Land chairman, said he expects continued growth for the company this year.

"The market demand for housing, particularly in the lower-end of the market, continues to be robust and we don't see any risk of a slowdown in that segment," the former senator said in a statement.

Vista Land is the holding company of five business units -- Brittany, Crown Asia, Camella Homes, Communities Philippines and Vista Residences.